Earlier this week we got the great news that people aged 42 and over are now able to book their Covid-19 jab. This means we are still well on track to hit all our vaccination targets and I encourage everyone to take up the vaccine when offered. The success of our own vaccine programme also puts us in a position to help countries like India who are currently struggling for medical supplies and it was good to hear the announcement earlier this week of a UK support package. News from India is very worrying and thoughts are with them at this time.
Throughout this global pandemic lots of local people have contacted me about what the Government is doing to support those in less wealthy and politically unstable countries around the world. On Monday I spoke in the House of Commons about how we need to make sure that the development aid money we send to these countries gets more directly to the people who can provide real social development opportunities rather than fuel corruption. These days more of our development budget is going into organisations other than Government regimes which is encouraging and I look forward to working with the Foreign Office on positive investment ideas in the future.
I also had the opportunity in Treasury Questions on Tuesday to ask Rishi Sunak about the outcome of the Defence Review and its focus on local prosperity within procurement decisions. As always I was keen to champion our helicopter industry and the innovative and dynamic local supply chain. I will be working with the Chancellor to make sure all involved can take advantages of opportunities for better procurement that will help companies like Leonardo and the wider aerospace sector bounce back from the pandemic.
At a time when local funding is so important in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, the plan proposed by our local District Councils here in Somerset to spend money running a poll on local government reform is a dreadful waste. Based on the money being set aside it is estimated that the cost of this polling for our four district councils will be over £1 million in total. A high number of people have already contributed to the public consultation to give their views and the timetable for a decision to be made has already been set. District Councils will make a decision this week whether to press ahead despite, as I understand it, some legal concerns and this last minute attempt to derail an agreed process and disregard for public funds rather underlines why it’s time for them to go.
Finally, I would like to highlight a point about our Police and Crime Commissioner election coming up. Under the AV system, you can cast two votes, in order of preference, but you do not have to. It is perfectly alright to just cast one and I am not sure that the postal voting papers make that clear.
As always, if I can be of help or if you would like to contact me on any of these issues please do call 01935314321 or email email@example.com